August 7, 2023

Current Pedal Obsession: Joe Gore Purr Vibrato.

Just enough wobble.

As Joe Gore experimented with circuits for Purr, he didn’t seek to put the sound of a Magnatone amp or Leslie peaker in a pedal. Instead the goal was An idiot-proof, “Goldilocks” vibrato. So he created a circuit with a triangle-ish LFO that doesn’t require a depth control to sound just right.


Purr was designed as a performance pedal. It has one b-i-g-g-a-s-s-t knob that you can turn with your foot to control the rate of the vibrato. The lack of a depth control will no doubt scare a few people away. But I didn’t find a single review or comment from those who actually own the pedal complaining the depth was too much or too little. That said, inside the pedal is an optical trim pot which lets you smooth out the wobble of the LFO a bit. It makes the LFO sound more like a sign wave than triangle.

The Rate knob has a great range. At 7a, the effect is gracefully hypnotic. 3p will give you the slow Leslie feel and 5p with give you the sense of the fast Leslie setting. There’s also a trimmer inside to fine tune the fast end of the Rate knob.

Like other Joe Gore pedals with one knob, Purr has an invisible control. It’s what flows through the input jack. So you put a bold, crispy signal in and you get a more pronounced vibrato. You put a quiet, mellow signal in you get a subtler warble. The effect will sound more pronounced with distortion and humbuckers than with clean, single coils. This demo below is clean:

This demo has a bit more digital grit:

A few notes.

  • The pedal is big. Bucking the current trend, there’s a battery inside. I assume it’s because this pedal will have an appeal to players that may use it as their only pedal going into a vintage amp.
  • Purr has a dry out. This lets you run it into two amps to create a stereo effect.
  • Purr helps create dimension when placed before ambience. It will add depth to reverb and is exceptional for enlivening spring reverb. It can put delay repeats slightly off pitch from each other to enlarge the space.
  • While a standard 9-volt pedal, Purr has an internal charge pump to run at 18-volts. This gives you excellent fidelity and headroom for louder signals. It keeps the highs and lows intact and fills out the spectrum over standard 9-volt pedals. It also passes distortion through nicely without adding color.

Here’s Joe demonstrating how nice and chewy Purr sounds:

My take.

Vibrato is often overlooked as a choice for a modulation pedal. While it’s simple and just wavers the pitch, the auditory illusion can conjure up other effects in your head: like tremolo, harmonic tremolo, phasing, uni-vibe, even delay.

But I think the real magic of an optical vibrato like Purr is that it doesn’t lose anything in the modulation. You know what I’m talking about: Like when a chorus adds this nice shimmer to the high end, but seems to suck the life out of the low end and midrange? You’ll hear plenty of movement and throb, but Purr doesn’t create its own ambience or coloration that can bury your sound. The result is that your signal stays present and your tone doesn’t get lost in the effect. Purr is excellent evidence of why vibrato has been around since the 1940s and still is many-a-player’s secret weapon today.

For the spectators: Analog, optical, 9v external/18v internal, battery included.

I don’t know Joe Gore. I don’t get paid by Joe Gore. I did this review because I bought Purr and really like it. So, if you’d like to help me get more pedals to obsess over, consider buying me a coffee below.

Why buy me a coffee? No third-party ads, no affiliate links, no tracking cookies. Just honest content. Thanks.

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